IDRIS ELBA’S ‘THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING’ UP NEXT AS ‘BEAST’ CLAWS TO #2 OPENING WEEKEND
Can Idris Elba’s Appeal Among BIPOC Audiences Conjure Similar Box Office Magic for George Miller’s Fantasy Feature?
(Los Angeles, CA - 8.23.22) – Strong turnout and broad audience appeal boosted Idris Elba’s “Beast,” Universal’s survival thriller, to #2 in its opening weekend, earning $11.6 million in the U.S. and another $10.2 million from seven international markets.
Among opening weekend crowds for the man-vs.-lion feature, 34% were African American, 26% were Caucasian, 23% were Latinx and 10% were Asian and Pacific Islander.
These numbers are of particular interest to MGM, the studio releasing Elba’s next film, “Three Thousand Years Of Longing,” which opens Friday.
An adaptation of the short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A.S. Byatt, the film casts Elba in a dramatically different role—as a genie freed from several millennia trapped in a bottle. Directed by George Miller, a master of mystical, mysterious, and dystopian worlds (“Mad Max” franchise), “Three Thousand Years Of Longing” is a story of stories that transform the relationship between Djinn (Elba) and Dr. Alithea Binnie, a skeptical narratologist played by Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Avengers: End Game).
While attending a conference in Istanbul, Alithea stumbles upon an antique bottle while shopping in the Grand Bazaar. After returning home, she uncorks the bottle and encounters a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Alithea is rightfully skeptical; as a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all too well that making three wishes always goes wrong. So Djinn takes her on a journey through time and space, telling her fantastical stories of his past, in an attempt to entice her to make a wish.
Fans of films like “Alibaba And The Forty Thieves,” “Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” and of course Miller’s “Mad Max” series may be intrigued to see how the filmmaker brings to life the fantastical stories Djinn spins for Alithea.
If BIPOC moviegoers, who helped push "Beast" to #2 at the box-office this week, are enticed to see “Three Thousand Year Of Longing,” it will be a wish-granting week for Elba, who could end up with two feature films topping the U.S. charts in the same week.